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Brenda

Meet Brenda

Thanks to a newly opened fistula hospital close to her home in Kisii, Kenya, 17-year-old Brenda was able to get treatment after six months. Now that she is healed, she has dreams of returning to school to become a nurse.

Brenda's Story

Like many 17-year-olds, Brenda has dreams for her future.

But last year, she had to drop out of school. Not because she had gotten pregnant at 16, but because of an injury she sustained during childbirth. She labored at home for two days before going to the hospital. When she was discharged, she found she was leaking urine uncontrollably. She had developed an obstetric fistula, an injury caused by prolonged obstructed labor. Unable to find treatment, she felt hopeless.

Her mother stayed by her side, her heart aching for her daughter, her sixth and last child. Grieved to see Brenda suffering, she wondered what would happen to her daughter if she were unable to get help. Fortunately, they didn’t have to wait more than six months to find out. Brenda heard about a newly opened fistula hospital on the local radio station and immediately called the hotline. In March 2016, she received free fistula repair surgery at Kisii Gynocare Fistula Center in Kenya.

The hospital is the seventh and most recent addition to the Fistula Treatment Network in Kenya. The surgeon, Dr. John Omboga, was trained through the Action on Fistula initiative and is committed to providing fistula repair surgery in Kisii, his home county. In just six weeks after the facility opened its doors in mid-March, Dr. Omboga had already performed an impressive 54 surgeries, giving women like Brenda the chance to resume their lives.

Two days after her surgery, while recovering on the ward, Brenda is once again envisioning her future. Her dream is to become a nurse. Encouraging her, Dr. Omboga says that if she works hard, she could come back and work here at the fistula center when she graduates, helping other women who have gone through what she has. Brenda just smiles, and her mother gently puts her arm around her daughter’s shoulder.

Brenda and her mother

About Kenya

  • Population: 45,010,056
  • Average Births per Woman: 3.54
  • Female Literacy: 84.2%
  • Population Living in Poverty: 43.4% (less than $1.25/day)
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We’re Making a Difference in Kenya

Read Another Woman’s Story

  • Prisca

    Zambia

    Prisca was diagnosed with multiple fistulas, and feared she would have to live with the condition forever. Then, a radio program changed her life.

  • Dembe

    Uganda

    Dembe did everything right during her pregnancy—she kept up all of her prenatal doctor’s appointments, and made sure that both she and her baby stayed healthy. When her labor began, Dembe walked the 10 kilometers from her home to the nearest heath center. She expected a normal delivery, but tragically, this would not come to pass—Dembe experienced a wrenching, prolonged labor, and her child did not survive.

  • Celestine

    Kenya

    In obstructed labor with her sixth child, Celestine was rushed to her local health facility, only to be told she couldn’t have emergency surgery until her family made a down payment. Anxious and afraid, she waited for her husband to return with the money needed.

  • Merin’y

    Madagascar

    Merin'y is the mother of three healthy children, but when the time came to deliver her fourth child, things did not go as they had before. Her labor was long and intense, and resulted in an obstetric fistula.

  • Elizabeth

    Madagascar

    Elizabeth is mother to ten children. For nearly a year, she suffered in shame, uncontrollably leaking urine. A doctor misdiagnosed her condition as a urinary tract infection. Without a way to stop the incontinence, Elizabeth went to great lengths to hide her injury.

  • Fistula Foundation - Binta

    Binta

    Guinea

    Binta is 35 years old and from Fidi, a landlocked village in northwestern Guinea. At 14 years old she was forced to marry a much older man, and soon became pregnant. After five days of painful labor, she lost her baby. A few days later, she realized that she was not able to control her urine. The difficult labor had left her with an obstetric fistula.

  • Harriet

    Uganda

    Harriet leaked stool for two years before understanding that she was living with a treatable injury. 

  • Yvonne

    Zambia

    After suffering from obstetric fistula for 17 years, Yvonne boarded a bus that would take her to treatment. She was hopeful that on her return ride, she would be traveling in a dry dress for the first time in nearly two decades.

  • Vitasoa

    Madagascar

    Vitasoa is from the village of Manja, approximately 250km from the nearest city, Morondava. She developed fistula during the birth of her first child.

  • Beatrice-Kenya

    Beatrice

    Kenya

    Beatrice is 17 she lives in Western Kenya. Many women with fistula suffer for years or decades before they are able to access surgical treatment. Fortunately for Beatrice, who was 16 when she developed fistula, it was less than a month before she received treatment at the Nyanza Provincial General Hospital in Kisumu, Kenya. Beatrice developed fistula after laboring at home for two days in the presence of a traditional birth attendant.

  • Jahanara

    Bangladesh

    Jahanara is just 23 years old. She was in labor for a full day at home before going to a hospital for an emergency C-section. By then, unfortunately, the damage had already been done.

  • Momakely

    Madagascar

    When it came time to deliver her baby, Momakely made her way to a health facility a great distance away from her home. But her labor was prolonged and difficult, and her baby did not survive. Momakely was left with an obstetric fistula for five years, until she learned about free fistula services offered by SALFA.

  • Reeta

    Nepal

    Reeta arrived at International Nepal Foundation's fistula clinic with her younger son, Tej. They live in Kanchenpur, a 9 hour journey by bus from Surkhet. Reeta developed an obstetric fistula after her youngest son’s birth 33 years ago. She had delivered two sons previously at home without difficulty, but the third labor was more complicated.

  • Tovisoa

    Madagascar

    Tovisoa is hopeful as she waits for fistula surgery that could change her life.

  • Blandine

    Madagascar

    Blandine was so happy to be free of her fistula, that "she honestly couldn't stop laughing, which was so heartwarming!"

  • Helen

    Kenya

    Helen went into labor with her second child about four years ago. She gave birth in her home, where she labored for many hours, completely alone without anyone present to assist her. Her baby was stillborn and she began leaking urine immediately.

  • Kemzo

    Madagascar

    Kemzo endured two to three days of excruciating labor before being taken to get a C-section at a public hospital in Vangaindrano. The prolonged obstructed labor had resulted in obstetric fistula.

  • Faith C.

    Kenya

    A terrifying rape resulted in pregnancy and an obstetric fistula for Faith. But today she is healed and looking forward to a future where she can use her experience to help other women in similar positions.